Design Assembly recently got the opportunity to chat with photographer/designer Kirsty Dawn. Kirsty’s work is reflective of her interest in nature, architecture and use of light, creating a space for exploration and simplicity in both photographic and design disciplines.
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How did you initially get started with the camera?
I was first introduced to photography in high school – the class put an emphasis on exploring your own interest, subject matter and processes. The dark room was fundamental in understanding the camera and the complexity of creating and developing an image.
I then studied a Bachelor of Design majoring in Graphic Design at AUT. Within the bachelor, I took photography papers, which is where I was introduced to studio photography and crafting light.
How does your design background inform your photographic approach?
Design and photography use a lot of the same principles such as, balance, alignment, proportion, negative space and colour. So, I’d say it’s definitely informed my understanding and approach to photography.
How do you balance these two roles (designer and photographer)?
Scheduling is really important when moving between the two. A design-oriented project typically takes longer than the tasks associated with a shoot but both require thorough planning.
How would you describe your photographic style?
I would say the style is heavily influenced by the way natural light falls on objects and within architecture. Recreating natural light in the studio environment means I have full control over each image whilst still achieving a natural aesthetic.
You live in a beautiful part of the country – how, if at all, does the landscape there inform your work?
The Whangārei region is beautiful. The movements of light and colour throughout the day and through the seasons make for a distinct reference point when styling and lighting subjects.
How has your ability and confidence progressed since you began shooting?
By continuing to learn, experiment and explore different techniques. I’m always looking to improve, so the ongoing process of learning gives me more confidence with each shoot.
What shoot (or shot), personal or professional, are you most proud of and why?
I think I’m more proud of the relationships I’ve developed with my clients and the trust they have in me and my work.
What does your post-production process look like?
During my time at Studio South, I was taught a high-level of post-production techniques. I’ve continued to develop this attention to detail since, and the below is a brief outline of the process from capture to final image.
– At each shoot, my camera is tethered and running through CaptureOne
– Final selects are made between myself and the client
– Colour grading in CaptureOne is followed by isolating parts of the image in Photoshop for further adjustments
– The final images are then exported and supplied
– This process can be lengthy depending on the number of deliverables.
What are you working on right now?
I’m currently working through a new identity and portfolio website in addition to planning a campaign shoot for a natural skincare company.
How can people get in touch and see more of your work?